Ark Fish Restaurant, 142 Hermon Hill, E18 1QH. South Woodford, London.
Ark Fish Restaurantis the trading name of Faulkners Caterers.
Faulkner Caterers was established in 1971 by John Faulkner as a company to run the Seashell Restaurant in Lisson Grove, Marylebone. Mark Farrell joined the company in 1972 and 10 years later became a junior partner.
The restaurant rapidly grew from a twelve seater fish and chip shop to one of the busiest and most famous shops in the country. It expanded to a ninety seater restaurant receiving glowing media coverage, not only in England but in articles published in the United States , Canada and Japan.
In 1981 a smaller restaurant, also called Seashell, was opened in Kingsland Road, East London and rapidly earned a similar reputation and great success.
In 1983 the Lisson Grove Seashell moved 50 yards along the road to a large converted factory. Despite the larger seating capacity of 185, queues still regularly formed for both the restaurant and take-away!
In 1987 a desicion was made to sell Seashell of Lisson Grove to Pleasurama. Mark transferred to Kingsland Road Seashell, which was then renamed Faulkners. Approximatelly four years later John Faulkner retired.
In December 2002, Faulkners Restaurant of Kingsland Road was sold and all links with it were severed at this time, contrary to several articles written since. In September 2003, Mark opened ARK Fish Restaurant which at present is the only restaurant owned and run by Faulkner Caterers.
The name ARK was chosen because it is the recognised name for Faulkner Caterers at Billingsgate Market. When buying fish at the market the fish is delivered to the buyers vehicle by one of the market porters. The boxes of fish are marked with the registration number of the van/lorry to which they are to be delivered. Faulkner's first van, some 30 years ago, had the registration number ARK 846H and consequently the name ARK was used and still is today.
Our reputation is based on our refusal to compromise in any way in the purchase, cooking or serving of fish. John Faulkner always maintained that fish should be bought firstly on quality basis and secondly on price and he also instilled this in Mark. Mark buys his fish daily from Billingsgate Market where the majority of fish comes in daily by plane from Iceland. Iceland practice a rotation with their fishing grounds to preserve spawning fish. A large amount of the fish is line caught thus eliminating the indiscriminate catching of undersize fish and fish that will eventually have to be thrown back into the sea, often too late for them to survive. Line fish are of better quality as they suffer less stress than those entangled in nets.
ARK Restaurant prides itself on being a family run business. Some of the staff who were originally recruited at Seashell and Faulkners are still working with Mark and his family today.